The lawyers defending a so-called “independent” Star Trek fan-film are trying to pull of what could certainly be the biggest upset in judicial history if they can convince a federal court judge to remove the words “Star Trek” from a lawsuit about, well, Star Trek.
Erin Ranahan, who represents Axanar Productions and its principal Alec Peters, made the demand last month, saying that invoking the Star Trek name would not only turn a copyright infringement case into a trademark infringement case, but it would also confuse a jury.
Lawyers for CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Inc., which sued Axanar and Peters in December 2015 for copyright infringement, shot back, calling Ranahan’s demand “absurd.”
“This is a copyright case, and defendants have denied copying Star Trek in order to create Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar and Star Trek: Axanar. The fact that defendants (prior to the filing of this lawsuit) heavily used the term ‘Star trek’ in their works, in their promotional materials, and in every one of their discussions regarding the content of their works, is highly relevant to whether or not defendants intended to copy, and did copy, plaintiffs’ works, and whether they were intended to be, and are in fact substantially similar, to plaintiffs’ works.”
In her filing last month, Ranahan called the plan by lawyers for CBS and Paramount to use the term “Star Trek” would only “color, cloud and confuse the views of the court and the jury in this case.” She admonished the attorneys for “repeatedly” referring to the Axanar productions as Star Trek: Axanar and Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar, despite the fact Axanar had used those names up until right before the suit was filed.